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Thread: First batch- weird flavour and many potential mistakes- troubleshooting help?

  1. Default First batch- weird flavour and many potential mistakes- troubleshooting help?

    Hello everyone,

    I started my first mead in December using a general recipe for a medium dry mead found online for a 1 gallon batch. Now, 2 and a half months in, my mead tastes quite yeasty and acidic, is not sweet at all, and fermentation has been limited with ABV is only at 8.14% (SG of 1.075 and latest gravity reading at 1.010).

    Am not really sure where I went wrong or whether the yeasty flavour and lack of sweetness means I just need to be patient and let it age for a while. Or maybe backsweeten a bit? I am beginning to wonder whether the honey I used was not sweet enough given the low SG.

    I made the mead on the 1st of December, racked it after 2 weeks of what looked like fairly active fermentation (lots of bubbles) that slowed down significantly after about 4-5 days and collected a lot of lees at the bottom of the carboy (I didnt take a gravity reading which might have been a mistake). I then let it sit in secondary fermentation from mid December until mid February (after reading that secondary usually took about 1-3 months and it was still bubbling steadily). As a lot of lees formed at the bottom I decided to rack again in mid Feb. I am wondering whether topping up the demijon with water was also a mistake that also led to diluting the batch too much but otherwise I would have had too much head space in the demijon.

    I am not sure where I went wrong. Is there a way to get the yeasty flavour toned down a little? should I attempt to re-start the fermentation? I am not sure how this would be done but it still seems quite far from being finished. Or is it just a case of ageing it now and accepting it wont be very alcoholic?

    Any and all thoughts are welcome!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Brookline, NH


    You need to post your actual recipe.

    If you're reading you hydrometer correctly (SG=1.010) then there's no use in trying to restart your fermentation. It is what it is.

    You should not have racked in the middle of an active fermentation, as you removed a lot of your yeast.

    Is it clear? If not, you are probably just tasting the yeast that's suspended in your must. 1.010 is not dry, but is also not sweet. That being said, you are probably not enjoying the flavor of a near dry mead, with yeast still suspended in it.

    Wait until the fermentation is complete AND it becomes clear. At that point stabilize and backsweeten.

    In the mean time read the gotmead NewBee guide.

  3. #3


    You could also fine it to make it clear. That will remove the yeast.

    Go listen to the gotmeadlive podcast as well. Start on 9/5/17. The Newbee guide is outdated.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Saratoga Springs , NY


    Hi goingpostal - and welcome. You are looking for your mead to become sweet? But unless you began with a very high concentration of honey any yeast you would have pitched - even bread yeast will ferment your must (the honey and water solution) brut dry. If you want a sweet mead you need to plan for that and that means using a concentration of honey to water that you know is above the tolerance for alcohol that your yeast possesses OR you need to stabilize the mead once all fermentation is over and then 'back sweeten" - that is add more sugar or honey to sweeten the mead.

  5. Default

    Hi everyone,

    thanks a lot for the feedback. I originally posted the recipe with my method but got no replies so thought an abridged version might be a way to get more comments I have included the recipe and more details than originally posted below.
    I think the main problem was that the starting gravity was way too low based on everything I have read. I followed a recipe for a medium mead but either the honey I used was not sufficiently sweet or I read the hydrometer wrong to get a reading of 1.075 with the amount of honey I used. I also forgot to mention that I racked after fermentation had slowed down considerably and also that when I racked for the second time, the mead had pretty much cleared completely.

    Would backsweetening still be the best option on just allowing it time to mature?

    The recipe and steps that I followed are this:
    - 1.3 kg of Egyptian clover raw honey
    - 4 L of still bottled water plus extra boiled water used for top ups
    - 1 sachet of Lalvin D47
    - 4.6 gr of yeast nutrient
    - 9 gr of yeast energiser

    I followed advise online and did not boil the must. After sanitising all equipment, I heated the water to 60 degrees C and added the honey. I waited until the must reached 24 degrees and pitched the rehydrated yeast. I did staggered nutrient addition and put equal quantities of the total nutrient and energiser on day 0, 2, 4 and 6. Initial gravity reading was 1.072. I put the must into a 1 gallon glass demijon fitted with an airlock and left it in a cupboard, aerating the must when doing the next nutrient addition by shacking the demijon. Activity during the first few days was quite active with a lot of bubbling and lees forming at the bottom.

    After 2 weeks, I racked the must into another 1 gallon demijon to remove the lees and move into secondary fermentation. As the racking removed a high volume, I topped up the must with boiled water that had cooled to ensure the mixture came up to the neck of the demijon. I left the batch in the cupboard undisturbed for its secondary fermentation- it continued bubbling slowly but steadily.
    After 2 months, I decided to rack again as there was a lot of lees at the bottom, it had clarified significantly, and I thought fermentation had mostly finished by now.
    I tried the batch and it tastes fairly yeasty, it tastes more like a dry cider than a mead, and is a bit acidic. I took a gravity reading and it was 1.010 so ABV is only at 8.14% even though Lalvin 47D should reach about 15%. I topped up the mixture with water again to bring it up to the neck of the demijon and put it back in the cupboard.


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